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Dear Abby: Couple clashes over time spent with sons

Dear Abby: My wife and I have been married five years and are raising four children. One is from my previous relationship, one is from her previous relationship and two are ours. We both have joint custody. My son goes to school near his mom. My wife’s son goes to school where we live. They are 9 and 8.

There’s a lot of tension between us because my stepson’s father isn’t the greatest parent. He never comes to school events or sporting events, so he misses half of everything. I regularly attend my son’s events, which are a couple of hours away and take time away from my stepson. I put my 9-year-old first because he’s my firstborn, and I have him less. My wife disagrees with this, and we fight about it constantly. I believe I am doing the right thing. Advice, please.

— Wondering in Wisconsin

Dear Wondering: I’m sorry your wife’s son’s father hasn’t stepped up to the plate. But please do not allow your wife to interfere with your relationship with your son. You ARE doing the right thing by showing an interest in what he’s doing and supporting him emotionally.

Dear Abby: I love my grown children and grandchildren, but I hate it when they come “home” for a week or more. My house gets turned upside down and inside out, and I end up losing my temper. Then I feel like an awful mother. I suggested we all meet somewhere else, but it didn’t go over well. Help!

— Invaded in North Dakota

Dear Invaded: Your suggestion may not have gone over well with your children and grandchildren, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t “suggest” it again. And when you do, make sure they understand you are saying it because when they visit they leave your home in disarray, which creates more work for you than you are comfortable doing. Unless they are willing to make sure your home is as neat when they leave as when they arrived, enough is enough.

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